Elnathan John and Kinyanjui Kombani were the featured guests at the Literary Crossroads event at the Goethe Institut Nairobi on February 16, 2017. The event was moderated by James Murua.
Literary Crossroads: Conversations with African Writers is an event hosted by the Goethe Institut in the cities of Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi. The event sees writers from different parts of the continent in conversation about their work and what it means to them and their audiences.
On February 16, Goethe Nairobi hosted its first edition of Literary Crossroads for 2017 and it would be a treat as Nigerian writer and satirist Elnathan John was flown in as the special guest. He would be engaging with Kenyan writer, who is also incidentally a banker, Kinyanjui Kombani.
Elnathan John for those new to this blog is a serial shortlistee of African literary prizes. His short stories have been shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing twice with only Billy Kahora beating him at two and a half noms (They really should give Billy that Caine Prize already). He has been longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for African Writing this past year for his debut novel Born On A Tuesday. He was also shortlisted for the Nigerian Prize for Literature for the same book.
On his part, Kinyanjui Kombani isn’t famous for literary prize nominations but his ability to pick topics that stick in the mind. His debut novel The Last Villains of Molo , which came out in 2004, is one of the most important books in the East African nation in recent times. It is the only novel that this blogger knows that speaks about the period around Kenya’s first multi-party election in 1992 and all its shenanigans. His follow up Den Of Inequities was a look at the country’s criminal underbelly via a criminal gang reminiscent of one called Mungiki.
The two were moderated by literary blogger James Murua who would be making his debut on the Goethe Nairobi stage.
The event started with the readings from two of the writers with excerpts dedicated to the election related violence. It was then followed by less bleak readings with Elnathan especially amusing the audience with an excerpt where Dantala, the protagonist in Born On A Tuesday, had been found masturbating by the Sheik. Funny stuff that. With the moderation part of the evening done, the audience got to ask their questions of the two writers and as you can expect, more were directed to the guest Elnathan.
The evening ended with fans of the two writers getting to have their copies of the books signed. For those who hadn’t bought them before they got the opportunity to get them on site courtesy of Magunga Books and Prestige Books.
Below are images from the images from the event courtesy of the Goethe Institut. You can check more out here.